Jim Shepard

34th annual Key West Literary Seminar

SHORTS: Stories, Essays, & Other Briefs
January 7–10, 2016

Jim Shepard has written seven novels and four story collections, including Like You’d Understand, Anyway, a finalist for the National Book Award and Story Prize winner. “In hyper-condensed story after hyper-condensed story,” says one reviewer, “he pushes through new subject matter that could easily have taken a whole novel to explore, and when you’ve read enough of his stories, you start to wonder if there are boundaries to his empathy.”

Fellow novelist and short-story writer Joshua Ferris has said that Shepard’s “insight is humbling, deeply grained, outrageously perceptive and full of a signature humor.” Shepard is perhaps equally known for teaching creative writing as he is of authoring it. “He reminds you that to be a writer,” Ferris adds, “is to be an admirer of other writers.”

As an avid reader of nonfiction, Shepard often borrows elements of historical events in his stories. His latest collection explores characters as eclectic as Chernobyl workers to the Greek playwright Aeschylus. His fiction has explored Satanism and Witchcraft, and climate change, too. “His preference for historical quests, for real people’s big gestures,” says the New York Times, “may help keep American short fiction from falling asleep in the snug little precincts of its usual subject matter.”

Shepard’s novel, Project X, won the Library of Congress/Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction as well as the ALEX Award from the American Library Association. His short fiction has appeared in, among other magazines, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, the Paris Review, the Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, the New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope: All-Story, Playboy, and Electric Literature, and five of his stories have been chosen for the Best American Short Stories, two for the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and one for a Pushcart Prize.  He teaches at Williams College.

Selected Bibliography

The Book of Aron (May 2015)
You Think That’s Bad (2011)
Like You’d Understand, Anyway (2007)
Love and Hydrogen (2004)
Project X (2004)

Online Resources

Jim Shepard’s wesbite
Joshua Ferris on Jim Shepard
Shepard reviewed in the NYT

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